Women in Innovation
What does this Innovation Focus Topic cover?
As the title suggests, the focus topic covers how women have contributed and continue to contribute to the world of Innovation, and how the future is set to see more input from women. Throughout history, women have always been in the background with men historically at the fore. In the background however, women have thrived, innovated and excelled. Today, the playing field is getting more level, women’s voices are now being heard, women are breaking through and being promoted. Gone are silent the days like in 1903 when Mary Anderson invented the first manual windshield wipers. The narrative is changing but let’s not forget that ‘innovation is innovation’ so over time, that should be the focus as opposed to the gender of the innovator. The culture is shifting and now we see more women in power, in leadership roles and in roles that were once titled ‘a man’s job’. Did you know that since 2003, Rwanda’s Constitution has required women hold 30 percent of elected positions and that now approximately 60% of the leadership in government in Rwanda are women? That is not only the highest in the world but is also transforming the country.
What are the new and emerging areas of Innovation in this area?
As you can see from the example above, growth is a benefit of women being able to step forward and offer innovative ideas. With Rwanda in line to become one of Africa’s major technology hubs, women are a huge part of this transformation and this will continue to happen as more women are introduced into leadership roles and recognised as innovators.
What new value could Innovation deliver in this area over the next 3-5 years?
The increase in diversity over the next 3-5 years will result in an increase in performance, bring more women innovators forward and increase growth across markets and sectors. For decades, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) have been quite unwelcoming to women – a trend which is seeing a shift and will significantly propel forward over the next 3 – 5 years as businesses, markets and countries develop and grow through the innovative input from women.